Instruments used against forest fires in the Region of Epirus (Greece)
Topic of the practice
Forest Fire Risk Mitigation
Good Practice Information
The Region of Epirus, located in the north-west part of Greece, faces a significant problem with forest fires during summer. Since forest fires may have tremendous environmental and social impact, various instruments are used for their mitigation. The Region, the fire brigade and the forestry are trying to make the best use of the traditional instruments against forest fires, while at the same time they try to introduce new instruments which will enable them to mitigate forest fires in an effective way. Moreover, emphasis is given on quick spotting of forest fires, in case they occur and on instruments that will make them cause the least possible damage. Apart from spatial instruments, there are also mitigation policies which can be applied and have very effective results.
In accordance to that policy an integrated system of early warning and fire management has been installed in the Regional Unit of Thesprotia. The system consist of two basic components: a sub-system of 4 cameras that enables people in the operation center, which is located in the building of the Re-gional Unit, to observe a big area covered with forest and a GIS system, used to produce thematic and fire risk maps. The project was co-financed by national and EU funds. The following important lessons were learnt from the use of the practices. It is important to involve local societies, mainly trough volunteer organizations, in the procedure of preventing/extinguishing fires and in the procedure of the recovery of an area after a fire, It is vital to keep the fire protection zones and the forest roads in good condition. The necessary actions should be taken very early in spring. GIS systems can be used as a tool in order to spot areas of high risk and set a mitigation policy for them
Evidence of success
The succes of this best practice can be illustrated by the results it produced in the first year. During the first summer of the operation of the integrated early warning and fire management system, the operators of the system spotted several forest fires. In some cases the fire brigade was first informed by the operator and the next call informing them about the incident was more than 10 minutes later. That time difference was vital in order to prevent fire from spreading.
Contact details to obtain further information on the practice
Annex completed on: 09-12-2012